Ceramics are lovely things: practical objects that double up as pieces of art to be admired and touched by pals. They take skill and creativity to make, but (unlike most art forms) can be used to hold tea, scones, or keys and loose coins on kitchen benches.
Not far from the Cooks River in Marrickville is a shared working space – currently home to 11 ceramic artists – now offering wheel-throwing classes where you can learn how to turn balls of mud into beautiful (and useful) ceramic vessels.
Clay Sydney has been operating on Renwick for three years, but was taken over by ceramicist and National Arts School student Hannah Barclay in June. The busy 29-year-old rebranded and renovated the studio to make room for more classes to meet growing demand. There are “taster” weeknight and weekend classes, ideal for folks with no wheel-throwing experience, and four-week courses for those looking to develop their throwing technique.
You can also hand-build your own mug or teacup – or a planter for your favourite green friend – in one-off workshops with endless cups of tea and cake included. Barclay has also introduced a new Clay Club Intensive series where guest artists run workshops – in one guided by Alichia van Rhijn of Hearth Collective, you’ll learn how to create your own three-piece dinner set.
There are wine and cheese nights held on two Fridays every month, where tea and cake are replaced with cheese and crackers – BYO wine. They always sell out, and are particularly popular with hens’ groups and corporate teams. It also caters to private events for small groups.
“People can come, let loose and get creative,” says Barclay. “Many of our students are people who have high-stress lives and are looking for a creative release … we’re definitely not serious.”